The Healing Process
Jasmine Butler, a 17 year old with a very painful secret is left on her own after her parents die tragically in a car crash. Jasmine does well by herself until she has to move in with the Cullens following a drastic decline in her vision. How will the Cullens react to the tempting human living upstairs? Will she bring them closer or will their secret be her death sentence?
10. Chapter 10: Meeting
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2878 Review this Chapter
Chapter 10: Meeting
Dear god, I have just been bested by a seventeen year old. What the hell was going on?
We all took our places at the table, but this time, Jasmine sat at the opposite end so when Carlisle dropped the bomb on her, she wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable sitting beside one of us. I was worried about Edward. He seemed to be beating himself up for his small slip. I reached under the table taking Edward’s hand and removing my shield.
“Don’t worry, sweetheart, I’m sure this will all work out. It has to.”
Edward smiled back, but neither of us could be sure what would happen next. In a matter of days, Jasmine managed to fit herself in our hearts, it would be almost impossible to imagine her not being with us anymore.
Well, as egregious an error as this was, the truth had to come out at some point. Once we were all seated, I began.
“I’m not exactly sure what occurred a few moments ago upstairs, but I will go out on a limb and say that Edward responded to something that Jasmine did not verbally express.”
“Exactly, and this is not the first time my thoughts have caused a reaction out of Edward. So, is it true, Edward? Can you read my mind?” Jasmine asked. Her expression was a mixture of worry and burning curiosity.
Edward finally met her gaze and answered. “Yes, Jasmine, I can read minds.”
We all stared at her, taking in her reaction. Her mouth hung open a little and it was hard not to laugh at her awed expression.
“Yeah, until he starts invading your private thoughts,” Emmett joked, loosening up the tense atmosphere.
“Ok, so that’s one secret down. What are the rest?” Jasmine pushed.
The tense atmosphere rose momentarily before a blanket of calm was thrown over all of us, courtesy of Jasper.
“And what was that? I was feeling all excited and eager and now I’m calm as if someone gave me a horse tranquilizer.”
Ok, there was no need to put this off any longer. Jasmine was living under the same roof as us, trusting us with her life. She needed to know how serious this really was. Edward looked over at me, his eyes asking me if I was sure this was the best decision. I was.
“There really is no easy way to say this, but you have the right to know the truth about us. Jasmine, we’re vampires.”
Vampires. That word hung in the air like a lullaby in a nursery. I never spent that much time trying to figure out what the Cullen’s were. They looked human, despite the deathly paleness and overwhelming beauty. I think on a subconscious level I was leaning towards the Greek Gods theme. Although, I suppose they were gods in their own right.
“Hardly,” Edward responded, being the dawning cynic.
“Oh, right, I forgot about the whole mind-reading thing.”
“Told you it will get annoying.” Emmett said, with a slight smile. It was then that I realized all of the Cullen’s were staring at me and more than a couple minutes had passed as I sat there thinking.
“Vampires,” I repeated. God, there were so many questions. Did they have fangs or was the razor sharp looking teeth enough? Where were the coffins? Or did they hang upside down like in Lost Boys? And what about garlic and holy water? And wait, how was it possible that I could see Rosalie and Alice in the mirrors? Was that some sort of parlor trick? And if Edward had the power to read minds, what powers did the others possess? But more importantly, how was it that I was alive and still unafraid?
“That is a lot of questions.”
I looked up at Edward and he laughed a little with relief. Of course, I was forgetting that he was listening to everything I just thought.
“Jasmine,” Carlisle called capturing my attention. “Are you all right?”
I considered the question carefully. It was a little disturbing knowing that I had been living with a house full of vampires unknowingly, but, despite what they were, I knew that they considered me a part of their family and I was safe.
“Yeah, I think so. Not exactly something you hear everyday, but, yeah I’m ok."
It was then that everyone slid out of their uptight positions and relaxed slightly.
“Good, then I imagine you must have questions.”
Emmett groaned and we all looked at him. “I’m really glad that Jasmine likes us and all, but I’m starting to worry about our reps! It’s like somehow over the decades we have lost our appeal!”
“Emmett, please.” Carlisle said, as if he were exhausted.
“No, really Carlisle. I mean I didn’t think anything of it when Bella wasn’t afraid, because you know, she was a weird, sex crazed human anyway—.”
As soon as he said this, a low hiss escaped Bella’s lips. I was a little startled at first, but then I started laughing and I couldn’t stop. The Cullen’s were looking at me as if I was starting to lose it.
“I’m sorry, but I had no idea vampires could hiss. That is so cool! Bella, can you teach me how to do that?”
“Um, sure?” Bella said, with a confused smile. The rest of the Cullen’s were still looking at me as if I had a couple of screws loose. Then my curiosity got the best of me.
“What else can you do?” I wasn’t sure, but I think I was bouncing up and down in my seat again.
“You are bouncing. You have been spending too much time with Alice, but to answer your question, we can hiss, growl and move very quickly,” Edward responded.
“How quickly? Can I see?” I kind of wanted to see Esme do it. She was the one I was having the most difficulty seeing as a vampire.
“Esme, Jasmine would like you to do the honors.”
Esme stood and disappeared. It took me an instant to smell her caramel scent behind me. “Wow. What else can you guys do?”
“I can see the future!” Alice said excitedly.
“And I can feel and control emotions,” Jasper said, looking as though he was trying to calm down Alice. Good luck, I don’t think the strongest empath’s combined could ever calm Alice once she got going.
“Really? Then can you tell me how I’m going to do on next week’s math test? And if the answer’s not so well, then could you be somewhere nearby Jasper and help me calm down? I have this tendency to get real panicky when it comes to test-taking.”
They all laughed and went their own ways from there. It was amazing watching them use their enhanced speed. It made me feel bad that in the beginning they had to hide their true nature in their home because of me. I wish they had told me sooner.
“But would you have accepted it as you are now or would you have run for the hills?” Edward said, once again answering my thoughts.
“By the end of the week, it’s going to get very annoying living with you, isn’t it Edward?”
“All a part of being a Cullen.”
“I’m really glad that you still like us, Jasmine,” Bella said, hugging me. “It’s nice having a little sister.”
“Even better having a big sister.”
“Hey, what about me?” Emmett said, pouting like a five year old after having his dessert taken away.
“Nothing tops having a teddy bear big brother.” When I said this Emmett lifted me off the ground in a big bear hug. It was nice, despite the fact that I was close to passing out.
After I said goodnight to everyone, I went to my bedroom, waiting for Carlisle to administer my eye treatments. While I waited, I stood in front of my mirror. I raised my top, staring at the hideous scar. The Cullen’s had no qualms disclosing their most guarded secret with me. Was it really fair that I hide something this big from them? Images of that night flashed in my mind. The smell of the beer on their breath and the roughness of their hands on my body haunted me as I slid my finger along the scar. There was a light knock on the door and the wafting scent of vanilla floating underneath it calmed me slightly. I pulled down my shirt, putting that horrible memory back into its little box and sat on my bed.
“Come in, Carlisle.”
Carlisle walked into the room, leaving the door open. He was carrying a small black bag. I half expected him to be wearing a lab coat. God, he was such a doctor. “So, are you ready for your first treatments?”
“I guess,” talking about my vision was becoming more and more depressive. “I mean I know you’re a great doctor and all Carlisle, but isn’t this medicine just prolonging the inevitable?”
I sat down on the bed, making sure the fallen strands of hair did not obstruct his progress.
“Well, the blindness will happen eventually, but this medicine will sort of ease it along. Have you been having anymore migraines?” Carlisle shined the light in my eyes and I tried to ignore the stinging from it. “Does this cause you discomfort?”
“All right.” There were creases in his face, worry lines actually. “Can you tilt your head back for me and stare at the ceiling? Try not to blink, please.”
I did as he said, suppressing a sigh. “You guys don’t drink human blood, do you?”
In an instant two drops from two different bottles were dropped into my eyes. Carlisle gave me a cotton swab to catch the running fluid. “No, we only feed from animals. We are—.”
“The good vampires.”
“Actually, I was going to say vegetarians, but I guess that’s one way of looking at it,” he said with a warm smile, that was blurred under the medicine.
“Is it hard being a doctor and a vampire?” I guess there was no polite way to ask that question.
“No, over the years I built up a resistance to the smell of blood.”
“And the others?”
“Some scents are stronger to resist, but they have managed pretty well so far. It’s not easy being this way, but we can at least live with ourselves at the end of the day knowing that we are not murdering innocent people.”
“Carlisle, can I ask you something?”
“The um, the thing that you guys use to um,” I was really having trouble wording this.
“She means our venom,” Edward said, nonchalantly walking past my room with an opened book in his hand.
Thank you, Edward, I thought sarcastically.
“You’re welcome,” I heard him call.
“What about the venom?”
“Do you…do you think that it would save my vision?”
Carlisle began to pack up the medicine in his medical bag. “Yes, but there’s a problem with that. The venom would repair your vision and strengthen it, but there would be nothing to stop it from spreading and turning you.”
“Then I would become a vampire,” I began to seriously think about this. “Would that be something that you would be willing to do? Would you change me?”
Even though I was the only person breathing, it was as if the house held its breath awaiting Carlisle’s response. “If it means your vision will be restored then yes. But you have to seriously think about this, Jasmine. It’s a painful process and completely irreversible. Everything that you would be able to do as a human—go out in the sunlight, reproduce—you will not be able to do any of that if you choose this life. If it’s what you want, then I’ll do it, but I want you to take some time and think about it. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Carlisle.” He closed the door and I reached over to turn off the light. I looked over at the moonlight peeking through my curtains. Tonight would be easier, peaceful. But just in case, I reached over and took one of my pills. I closed my eyes weighing the options of being a blind human for the rest of my life or a vampire who might have to watch the man she’s in love with die someday.
Around three a.m., I found myself lying awake, staring at the moon again. My throat was dry and parched and my stomach rumbled as the meal from the night before had dissolved from my system. I got out of bed and headed downstairs. There was a faint rhythmic squeaking of bedsprings coming from somewhere in the house. Man, Edward and Bella humped like rabbits in the summertime.
“Actually, we are completely innocent this time,” Edward said from behind me, making me jump almost a foot off the floor.
“Damn, Edward. A little notice might be nice.”
“And here I thought you had my scent down so you would be able to hear me. What did you say I smelled like by the way?”
The lights were on downstairs as I made my way into the kitchen. “Um,” I turned to him, sniffing quickly so I wouldn’t make him more uncomfortable than he probably already was. “Something like pumpkins. Don’t ask me why.”
“Jasmine, you mind if I ask why you just sniffed my husband?” Bella said trying to sound serious, but unable to hold in her laughter.
“We were establishing the various Cullen scents. Oh, wow, Esme really knows me.” Inside the cabinets were all of my favorites. Dill potato chips, Chewy Chips Ahoy cookies, Blueberry Pop tarts, Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars, Golden Grahams, Double Chocolate Chip Muffins, Welch’s Strawberry Fruit Snacks, Minutemaid Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Yoohoos, Sprite Remix! I didn’t know they still made that.
“Esme has connections,” Edward said.
“Wow, I have to tell her thank you, where is she?”
Edward and Bella gave an explicit laugh and I cringed a little. Well, at least I knew who was making the springs pop. “And on that gross and uncomfortable note, I think I’m going to make a sandwich.” I found some sliced rotisserie chicken and Swiss cheese and made a sandwich with honey wheat bread. I took my late night snack to the living room and sat in one of the easy chairs watching Emmett and Jasper play on the XBOX. This time, the game was Mortal Combat v. DC Universe. I was never as big a fan of Mortal Kombat as I was the DC Universe characters, but the powers rocked.
“Now what was it that you were saying about scents? Most humans just think we generally smell good,” Bella said.
“Well, you do, but I can specifically decipher the scents. Is that normal for a person losing their vision?”
“Typically yes. When humans began to lose one sense the others become heightened to help that human survive,” Edward said in a matter of fact tone.
“Why do I get the feeling there’s more than one Dr. Cullen in this house?”
“Yes, my little genius has quite a few degrees under his belt,” Bella said, placing herself lightly in Edward’s lap. It was obvious from the tonsil exam he was giving her that she had his full attention.
“Okay, speaking of gross displays of affection, where are Alice and Rosalie?”
“Right here!” Alice chirped happily.
In a swift fluid movement, Edward rose from the couch with Bella in his arms and raced her up the stairs vampire bridal style. Rosalie and Alice sat down and Alice and I began to chat.
“I have a complete itinerary planned for today. Breakfast for the human at five, on the road by five-thirty, be in Seattle by six-thirty—.”
“Whoa, Alice. There is no way that we can make it to Seattle by six-thirty.”
“Oh, do you want to bet?”
“Don’t bet against Alice, Jasmine. You will never win,” Jasper said with a wry smile.
“And she’ll make you do something really embarrassing when you lose.”
“I take it you’ve betted against Alice in the past, Emmett.”
“Yes and the outcome was not pretty.”
“Hey guys, is Bella coming with us?”
“Hang on,” Alice grew really still and stared off into space with a vacant expression. She blinked once and smiled. “Yes.”
In my peripheral vision—or what was left of it—I caught Rosalie staring at me. It was strange. When I first moved in it was obvious that Rosalie hated me. Now it was as if she could tolerate me. Not exactly where I thought I would end up on her list of liked people, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
“Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” Rosalie asked, still staring at me.
“No, it’s very hard for me to sleep when I have to go shopping the next day. The smell of new shoes is my morning coffee.”
“Girls,” Emmett and Jasper said at the same time.
“If I were you, I would be more concerned with my tactical assault strategy, Emmett. Jasper is creaming you.”
Emmett paused momentarily to give me the finger. Ah, to be a Cullen!
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